The agricultural sector has seen immense transformations and advancements over the years. The introduction of newer types of agriculture and other ingenious methods that are a result of technological innovations have revamped the agricultural sector entirely. These technological advancements are made to meet the growing demand for farm automation, digitalisation, and sustainability. The latest agricultural trends hint at a shift towards smart farming and the effective use of time and resources, eliminating the risk of crop losses. Smart farming incorporates the use of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), computer vision, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Other farming equipments include robots and drones that help with farm automation by replacing basic manual operations such as killing weeds, picking fruits, etc. Similarly, drones and satellites are programmed to capture images of the farms teamed with a Global Positioning System (GPS) that provides a high-resolution and location-specific view of the field. These Internet of Things (IoT) devices come with sensor technology and collect real-time field data that help farmers make data-driven decisions. Precision agriculture and indoor farming are a couple of trending concepts that fuel the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in farming. These technological innovations create sustainable changes in agricultural practices while focusing on improving the overall quality and quantity of crops, and enhancing livestock management.
The latest Agricultural Trends that will Affect Farming in 2022
- Internet of Things (IoT): Most conventional farming requires implementing intensive labour, advanced farming equipment, time, and effort. The Internet of Things (IoT) works as an alternative to conventional methods. These devices are built with one or more sensors that collect data and provide accurate information using mobile applications and other means, in real-time. These sensors are programmed to perform multiple activities including soil temperature and humidity sensing, tracking plant and livestock, and more. Also, the Internet of Things (IoT) helps monitor the farms that are convenient to farmers and the new irrigation systems help automate water delivery to crops. More advanced sensors combine the Internet of Things (IoT) with robots, drones, and computer imaging that not only send on-time alerts and enhance response time for areas needing attention but also boost the accuracy and precision of farming processes.
- Agricultural Robotics: One of the major problems faced by farmers, especially the ones who own large field operations, is a labour shortage. To mitigate this issue, companies are manufacturing agricultural robots that automate routine tasks such as fruit picking, harvesting, planting, transplanting, spraying, weed picking, seeding, etc. Farmers also implement smart farming machinery like autonomous and semi-autonomous tractors for harvesting. Robots are also used for livestock management including weighing scales, incubators, milking machines, and auto feeders. In short, agricultural robots help farmers focus more on enhancing the overall productivity of their farms without slowing the farming processes.
- Artificial Intelligence: Like any other sector, the agricultural sector also incorporates Artificial Intelligence (AI) that provides farmers with real-time information about the condition of their fields. Farmers can get insights to forecast weather data, crop yield, and prices that help them make data-driven decisions. Farmers also receive input recommendations and suggestions from chatbots. AI also provides farmers easy finance access to farmers who are denied credit from banks via credit scoring.
- Drones: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) commonly known as drones help farmers enhance farm productivity effectively while saving costs. These devices collect raw data that is translated into useful information for farm monitoring. Besides, drones come with cameras that facilitate aerial imaging and surveying near and far-fetched fields. These data optimise the application of fertilisers, water, seeds, and pesticides that drive precision agriculture. Besides, drones are beneficial for livestock tracking, geofencing, and grazing monitoring. They capture images that help analyse crops, soil, and field.
- Precision Agriculture: Implementing eco-friendly methods that have negligible impact on the environment is what defines agricultural sustainability. Precision agriculture is site-specific crop and livestock management where farmers use precise inputs like water, pesticides, and fertilisers to improve the quality and productivity of their fields. Since different parts of the land have different soil properties, different slopes, and receive different sunlight, receiving the same treatment for the whole farm is a waste of time and resources. To tackle this issue, agribusinesses implement precision agriculture.
- Agricultural Biotechnology: We are aware that quite a lot of farm yield gets wasted due to plant and pest diseases, despite using agrochemicals. Agricultural biotechnology enhances the quality of crops and livestock wherein scientific techniques like plant breeding, hybridisation, genetic engineering, and tissue culture help identify the better traits in plants. Many businesses use agricultural biotechnology methods to provide multiple solutions like biopesticides, bioherbicides, biofertilisers, and bioplastics for fields that address soil toxicity concerns and ensure a negligible negative impact on the environment.
- Big Data and Analytics: This technique is used to convert day-to-day farm data to actionable insights. To build a base for the next farming season, farmers need access to statistics on crop areal, production, land use, irrigation, agricultural prices, weather forecasts, and crop diseases. Here, the analytical tools use data on weather events, farm equipment, water cycles, quality, and quantity of crops to gain farm-related information. Having access to this information allows growers to identify patterns and relationships that benefit their overall operations.
- Controlled Environment Agriculture: Weather events are unpredictable and extreme weather affects conventional farming methods. Besides, growing crops in cities, deserts, and other unfavourable conditions is quite challenging. These challenges are overcome by controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Under this method, plants are subjected to a controlled proportion of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrients. Techniques like hydroponics and aeroponics that involve growing soilless plants in liquid nutrients, or aquaponics where plants and fish are cultivated simultaneously are quite popular.
- Regenerative Agriculture: Conventional farming practices that involve ploughing, tilling, and overgrazing leads to long-term erosion and soil crusting and do not allow much time for the soil to revive before the next cropping season. This is where regenerative agriculture proves to be beneficial. Under this method, soil disturbance is kept at a minimum while enhancing soil biodiversity and topsoil revival. It also involves other practices such as no-till farming, reduced tillage, crop rotation, and more. Also, regenerative farming allows fields to work as carbon sinks which leads to fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere, thereby making less impact on climate change.
- Connectivity Technologies: For successful smart farming, connectivity technologies such as LPWAN, rural broadband, or satellite communication is a must. This allows farmers to monitor the data more precisely and in real-time so that they can take apt actions. Other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are benefitted immensely from connectivity technologies as they work in coordination to form connected farms.
Technological advancements in developed countries are hugely impacting the agriculture industry. Modern agricultural technologies allow farmers to work from home simply by deploying Internet of Things (IoT) devices, sensors, and automated systems.
For a better overview of the agricultural sector in Australia, contact us at KG2, Australia’s largest independent farmer database. Referring to our well-researched data will help you make an informed decision about implementing the right solution to enhance your farm’s productivity.